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  #1  
Old 08-16-2008
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Solo docking question

When it comes to getting out of my slip or solo sailing on the Columbia River I have no problem. However, when I come back to the dock, it's very dicey.

I'm in my upper 60s and can't jump off on to the dock like i used to and I sure don't want to hit the other boat in the slip. If my wife's aboard, she can't help either. The boat has a pretty high freeboard compared to my ability to get off without using steps. I know that there are others in the same boat so what special things have you done to make a safe solo docking without smashing into the dock or another boat in the slip.

BTW, I've been sailing off and on for 30 years but haven't sailed for 4 years because of an illness. I never had problems before because I was quite nimble but now I'm just happy to be back on the water

Harris

1979 Lancer 25

Last edited by Survivor; 08-16-2008 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 08-16-2008
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Go to Quantum Sails website and get onto Capt. Jack Klang's tutorials. It is all about spring lines. There is another thread now about docking that covers it as well, but Capt. Jack is the master.

A mid ships cleat or a shroud, a spring line, and you have control. Never have to jump off till the boat is stopped and in control. At 62 there is no way I am going to jump off and try to stop 14,000 lbs.. It would not have worked at 20,30, or 40 either.
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Old 08-17-2008
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Harris,
Wow, can I relate!
When I round into the creek getting close to my slip I always say "I'd rather get a root canal than dock this boat!" Actually, that's not really true, I hate to go to the dentist! But our boat backs hard to port and is a pain to dock.
This is what I've done to make it a bit easier. I back my boat into the slip, but you can do the same thing really if you go bow in.
I know if I get my starboard springline on it will stop the backward motion of the boat and draw the stern of my boat to starboard and my finger pier.
I have my starboard springline green to distinguish from my forward dockline which is white. I have a loop in my springline so it can be dropped onto the cleat, mid ship with ease. AND I pre-measured it so I know it's does what it's suppose to do.
I have taken apart two Schaefer Marine Handi-Hangers. The "balls" from the Handi Hangers I have sewn into the bitter ends of my stern lines. The "hanger piece" of the Handi Hangers I have attached to the wooden piling which is at the beginning of my finger pier. So I get to that piling just before my finger pier.
As I'm backing the boat in,the springline goes on, kicks the stern of my boat to starboard and I can reach with one hand my two stern lines that are hanging on the Handi Hangers, on that piling.
The springline has stopped the motion of the boat, kicked it to starboard which is the same side of my finger pier, and I have my stern lines which gives me control of the stern and the bow.
I NEVER jump off my boat to the pier. And I always tell my crew, it's my responsibility to position the boat in the slip and make it easy for them. No one should have to jump off!
We also have cheat lines on both sides of the slip that go from forward piling to the piling at the finger pier. And yes, there are days I use those to literally pull my boat in until I get to my stern lines.
Practice on flat a** calm days..over and over and over.
Never hesitate to go bow into your slip if that's easier for you.
I'm also never hesitant to radio the marina and ask for help if I get caught in a situation with very strong crosswinds. I've only had to do this once and I was solo coming in. A six pack of beer is all the thanks they need.
And I never hesitate to pass up the slip and try again.
Know your boat, set up the slip for your boat and your situation.
Two people on my dock have their stern lines haning on an arm that come out of the dock. The disadvantage of this is they have to back their boat almost all the way in to reach those lines. I like the idea of having my stern lines in my hands well before that. My stern lines are out of the water too... and I like that!

I am obligated to say although I do NOT manufacture Handi Hangers my company does sell them. However, you can purchase them from lots of other places! And you can rig up your stern dock lines and piling using good old creativity!
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Old 08-17-2008
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And I Love Jack's book mentioned in Tom's post. I keep it in my navigation table and have used it numerous times when docking or leaving the dock at new marinas.
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Old 08-17-2008
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Jumping off the boat is a huge no-no for me. I always tell my guests no one jumps off my boat. Earlier this summer someone jumped off a boat with a high freeboard and went right thru the dock planks. I posted this method on a previous post. However, Capt. Jack Klang's tutorials are great. I attended his seminar's at Strictly Sail and he knows his stuff.

I single hand a 30' Catalina most of the time and I use spring lines to leave and return to my slip. In leaving your slip, leave the boat tied with all of the docking lines and rig a spring line from the aft most cleat/pile on the dock side. I run the line around my forward main winch back to my secondary winch and make the line fast. Put the boat in forward and use the leverage against the fender to hold the boat fast against the slip. You can then uncleat all of the lines and store them or whatever. When you are ready to go, check for traffic and so on. Slip the boat into neutral and unfasten the spring line and leave on the dock. Slip the boat into reverse and backout. No hassle, no drama with practice it is easy. When you return the process is reversed. Approach the slip slowly, it helps to have an upwind slip but this works for a downwind slip as well. Use a boat hook to pick up the spring line and run it around the forward winch back to the aft winch and make it fast. Put the boat in forward and hold it against the slip with the spring line and the fender. Make the boat fast with all of your docking lines and your done. No running around or jumping off the boat to slow the boat down. In fact when I had a downwind slip I used the spring line to slow down and stop. With practice it is such a nice calm way of ending a great sailing day. Good luck
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Old 08-17-2008
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I was unable to find the link on Quantum's web site. I found his article on manuevering but not docking. Can you provide the link?
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Old 08-17-2008
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Old 08-17-2008
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This link has a lot of info from Jack.
http://cfsa.vancouver.googlepages.co...aneuvering.pdf
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Old 08-17-2008
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Jack is not only a wonderful teacher, but a gentleman through and through. Pretty good sailor, too. We made a "Docking Solo" cruising tip segment for our TV show aboard Jack's boat coming into the marina at Sutton's Bay, MI (his boat is a S&S designed Chris Craft 30). It's on our free "How-to" video page. To watch go to:

Seafaring.com

Then select the "Watch free how-to video" link, and the "Solo Docking" video should play automatically. If not, just select it on the right and then click "Play Video" in the lower right.

Of course, conditions were pretty benign the day we shot this, but with practice you can get really good at it. I have!
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Reading it is great...watching someone else do it is great...but nothing works better than practice. Calm day, middle of the week. I can't encourage you enough to simply buy Jack's book. I've known him for several years, we are across from each other at Strictly Sail Chicago. You have to trust that what he suggests works! So try it, if it's not for you, come up with your own plan, again, for your boat and your slip. I encourage you to attend a boat show and watch Jack's demo... he is VERY approachable and more than willing to take time to visit with you. A kind soul. Good luck and let us know what you try!
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